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Chicken Supplies: The Ones You Want and the Ones You Need

Looking after chickens is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. But if you're going to do the job right, you're going to need the correct chicken supplies for the job. Some of these poultry supplies are essential and some of them are just for fun. Whether you just want what you need, or like the idea of splashing out on some fun extras either for yourself or as a present for a chicken-loving friend, let us run through some of the chicken supplies you might consider;

Egg Skelters

Egg skelters are a handy, fun and stylish way to keep your eggs in date order. Each egg skelter has a spiral shape akin to a helter skelter (hence the name). As you remove the bottom egg the rest roll forwards so there is always a fresh egg easy to hand. Their fun design and handy nature makes them the ideal gift. Like many poultry supplies, they're a small but effective way of introducing some character to a room. They've already been seen as set dressing on televisions shows including River Cottage and Kirstie's Homemade Homes, as well as earning appearances in magazines such as Country Living, Practical Poultry, Home Farmer and Fancy Fowl. Each skelter holds up to 24 hens' eggs. A smaller version is also available for the owner of bantam hens.

Egg Boxes

If you're looking for a cheaper and/or more practical way to store and transport your eggs, you can't go wrong with good old egg boxes. They're probably the first thing people think of when you mention chicken supplies and, like so many commonplace items, that recognition is the result of a brilliant design. The fibre structure of the box holds each egg separate and secure whilst protecting it from the stresses and dangers of transport. When planning your poultry supplies, egg boxes are a must - particularly if you are planning on selling your eggs or distributing them amongst friends.


Bedding is another essential chicken supply. To begin with, poultry need bedding for exactly the same reasons we do; for comfort whilst sleeping, to reduce pressure on the skin and to keep them warm. However, bedding also plays an important part in keeping your birds clean and healthy. Bedding is typically made from straw or wood cuttings, which will absorb much of the waste passed by your birds. Dried bedding is particularly effective, as the lack of moisture reduces instances of moulds, mites and spores. Make sure to clear out and replace the bedding regularly: not only does this help keep your chickens healthy, used bedding makes for brilliant fertiliser.

These are just a few of the chicken supplies to consider if you are planning on keeping your own brood, but there are plenty more to look at. Find a reputable supplier of poultry suppliers to find out what you will need - and what you might just want.


A Metal Barn Versus A Wooden Structure

Traditionally, barns were wooden structures used to house the various animals and supplies needed to run a farm. Now, however, more and more people are choosing to use metal barns instead of those made of wood. There are several advantages to using a metal barn as opposed to a wooden one, some of which are outlined below.

First, metal buildings have proven to be quite cost-effective. There are several reason for this, the main one being the lack of maintenance needed to keep the structure in good working order. They are also cheaper to build, as steel is the least expensive method for erecting such a structure. They are also not susceptible to pests such as termites so this also cuts down on the potential cost of the upkeep as well.

Another benefit of using a metal structure for a barn as opposed to one made of wood is that they are able to better withstand fire, rain, snow, and natural disasters such as earthquakes. This can be especially important if you live in an area where these are or could be common occurrences.

Another advantage is the lower cost when adding space. Over time, you may decide you want to expand your barn, either to house more animals, or hold more equipment. If you choose a metal structure, you will be able to do so easily at a great rate. The construction is also much simpler, and takes considerably less time than adding onto a wooden barn.

Metal barns are also easy to accessorize as needed. For example, you may choose to add more windows to your structure, or to add heating and air conditioning. You will be able to do so quickly and easily, and will enjoy many of the same benefits by doing so that you would with a traditional wooden barn. Your options are endless.

When you begin looking for a company from which to purchase your barn, be sure you have researched your needs and have based them on your available budget. That way, you will be able to ask the right questions, and find a company that will provide you with a structure that will really work for you. Remember, the more you know, the better off you'll be in the long run. Find out what has worked for other people so that you can get an idea of what might fit your needs. Be sure you are constructing a barn that will last, while also leaving room for any expansion or updates you may need in the future.


A Healthier Start To A Pig's Life

Weaning is a problematic time for pigs, especially in intensive production. Piglets commonly become susceptible to bacterial infections including weaning diarrhea, which restrict their growth rate; and often lead to piglet losses of 10% or more.

This sort of infection can significantly increase production costs because the animals need food over a longer production period, and also for veterinary treatment.

Similar problems are seen in weaning calves. The antibiotics used routinely for many years to control these rapidly-spreading infections have now fallen out of use, mainly due to the increase in resistant strains of bacteria, and because they also have negative effects on digestive tract and immune system development.

A radical solution has been found by using a lectin obtained from the red kidney bean plant (Phaseolus vulgaris). Lectins are proteins that bind cells together; typically red blood cells, and are therefore known as phytohaemagglutinins.

In the early weeks of life, the greatest changes in the digestive tract of young mammals occur in the pancreas, stomach and upper intestine. But, the changes needed for the animal to cope with a non-milk diet are not completed by the time weaning is carried out in production animals.

Suddenly introducing a weaned diet frequently causes gastrointestinal disorders, which cause reduced weight gain and poor food utilisation. Calves show particularly rapid changes at the time the stomach adapts to the needs of a vegetable diet.

The EUREKA HEALTHY WEANING project coordinator, Professor Stefan Pierzynowski of Lund University, Sweden, explains: "Giving this new factor, which we call Suilektin, for a short, specific period before weaning stimulates the digestive tract to reach maturity faster. This helps it to change from the digestive and absorptive needs of milk, to those of an adult diet." The EUREKA study showed that giving the lectin to piglets at 11-12 days old greatly enhanced successful weaning at 28 days. This result was achieved by accelerating the production of mature intestinal cells, able to cope effectively with the weaning diet.

During the project, field trials determined the optimal timing and dose, together with the best consistency and method of administration; and the results analysed the animals performance and the economic impact of the technique.

Studies determined the exact effects of lectin at the cellular level of the intestinal lining and on intestinal enzymes production; others focused on developing immune cells and gut bacteria. All above mentioned studies contributed to developing an economic process for large-scale production.

Current pig production methods could benefit significantly from this new Suilektin product, and hopefully the studies will prove useful for pigs and calves as well. Other expensive, sophisticated weaning foods are already available on the market, but are not always an economic proposition for the farmer, as the profit margin on pig production is not high.

"We are very interested in finding a producer for Suilektin, and it could reach the market very soon. It will be both cheap and very effective," says Prof. Pierzynowski. Since the project was completed in October 2005, the project partners have filed two patents on their process and have received considerable interest from potential producers.

A current consortium is actively working on behalf of the former EUREKA project partners to set up arrangements for production.

"Although giving any lectin in large amounts would not be recommended," he continues, "we will be explaining to farmers the advantages of its use in small, carefully calculated amounts for this very short period.

This very specific use as an additive and not as a food - will stimulate maturing of the digestive tract without causing any digestive problems." How soon Suilektin reaches the market will be linked with the full implementation of the EU legislation.


Farm Succession Planning is Passing Down the Farm, Right?

Some of you got it right, passing down the farm is farm succession from the current generation of owners to the next, the folks who are going to be owning and running the farm in the 21st. Century. However, we found out the hard way that we are the only one's using the expression passing down the farm when we are talking about the process and strategies of management and ownership transition of the farm and business to the successor generation.

Almost nine years ago we registered our domain name because we had been told that the older a domain name is, all other things being equal, the better it is for search engine rankings. And we knew we were going to create a farm succession and planning checklist someday - so we'd be ready, #1 on Google.

Today as we begin to populate our web site with new and updated content about farm succession and planning, we can look at our listing and see that sure enough we're right up toward the top of the search engine listings.

What we realized, after doing some extensive keyword investigation, is that being #1 is meaningless since almost no one ever types in the expression "passing down the farm" into Google or any of the other search engines. We made the obvious mistake of thinking that everyone else used the expression - when they don't. Too much time reading our own press releases I guess.

Passing down the farm is the benefit - the goal, the objective on virtually every farmer's mind. It is not, however, what they think of when the go online looking for the tools, techniques, and strategies required to achieve the results they seek however.

The benefits of the passing down the farm succession process begin the day you get serious about designing the future you want for your farm and your family. And the process continues forever, just like your family's involvement in the farm will extend far beyond the lifetimes of everyone living today.

Here three key planning elements uniquely intertwined with each other to create the succession and planning process we call passing down the farm.

Strategic planning is a key element of the farm succession and planning process. You may not use such a high toned expression but that's what you're doing when you plan beyond the next twelve months - consistently rolling your planning ahead of you as you go.

Farm strategic planning is also about management training and leadership development for your successors so they'll be ready to assume full responsibility when the time is right. There are some mistakes your farm can absorb and keep right on chugging along and there are some that will totally destroy what has been created.

Start today by identifying who's going to farm in the next generation and then get started with the leadership and management training they'll need to do so.

Succession planning is the process where you pick the people to run the place in the future and begin empowering them to conserve what you've built and leverage your efforts to grow the operation bigger in the future.

Growth is critical in order to generate the profits required to meet the security needs of the retiring generation, provide a fair share of the farm's value to the off farm heirs, and reward the successors for their risks and hard work.

When you start now to open up areas of responsibility, in the eyes of your successors not just yours, you'll send the right messages about your intentions for the future.

Estate planning, the wills, trusts, buy-sell agreements, and all the contracts required to fulfill your succession and planning requirements DO NOT come last.

Farm estate planning is critical, too critical to be put off, because it establishes the ground rules, faces the tax consequences, and gives the force of law to the strategies that will result in your wishes being spelled out for all to see.

Estate planning decisions need to be made today based on what you know today, where everything is today, and based on the best advice available today.

As time goes by and the other elements of your farm succession plan fall into place you simply have your advisors update your estate planning documents. How many movies have you seen where the old tyrant dies without having changed his will for decades - leaving the heirs and those who though they were heirs to fight over the spoils, resulting in another mystery for Lt.Columbo to solve. Don't let that be you!

Over the last thirty years people have said to me, "but Wayne, our farm is different" and it is. Often this comment was made in an effort to convince me that their situation was so unique it defied the experts and therefore their lack of planning was justified.

Passing down the farm then is the result. Your farm and family's unique situation addressed using well considered strategies that are being used successfully by others.


Common and Uncommon Edible Eggs

Eggs have always been a popular delicious and nutritious food. When most people think of eggs, they think of eggs that come from a chicken. Commercially produced chicken eggs are used more often than any other type of egg and are the eggs that people will find the most in supermarkets. Although, the chicken egg is the most common egg sold, there are a wide variety of different types of eggs that are edible and tasty.

Duck Eggs: These eggs are a little larger than chicken eggs. Duck eggs contain more flavor than chicken eggs, but they have a higher level of fat. The egg white has a higher level of albumen than the chicken egg. The duck eggs available on the market are large.

Quail Eggs: These eggs are much smaller than chicken eggs, but are similar in flavor. The shells are speckled and their color varies from dark brown to blue or white. Quail eggs are commonly hard boiled and used as an appetizer or as a hors d'oeuvre.

Goose Eggs: The goose egg is larger than chicken or duck eggs. Goose eggs are very high in fat and cholesterol. They are very rich and are often used in desserts.

Turkey Eggs: The turkey eggs are much like the chicken eggs, but are larger. They are also similar in flavor. The shell colors can be white to cream with brown speckles. They are usually found in specialty markets. They are very high in cholesterol and fat.

Ostrich Eggs: One ostrich egg is equal to 20 to 24 large chicken eggs. They are mainly sold for their uniqueness. They are often used in omelets and as scrambled eggs.

Other edible eggs include Pigeon, Pheasant, and Emu. As well, there are also eggs from fish such as Salmon, Sturgeon, Cod, Shaker, Whitefish, and Hake

Two methods of acquiring eggs that are growing in popularity are Organic Eggs and Free Range Eggs. Organic eggs are produced from hens that have been given all natural feed that do not contain any pesticides or herbicides. Free-range eggs are eggs produced by hens that have been raised outdoors. Eggs are called free-range if the hens have daily access to the outdoors.

Eggs are so popular because they are a cheap and healthy food that can be made into a variety of meals such as hardboiled, coddled, shirred, omelet, frittata, soft-boiled, scrambled, fried, and poached. They are also used as a key ingredient in many food dishes.

The egg is a very nutritional food enjoyed by most people. They contain a high amount of protein and a number of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. The egg is a source of all the B vitamins. It is a primary source of vitamins B12 and B2 (riboflavin). The egg is also an important source of vitamins A and D. A medium egg has an energy value of 78 kilocalories. The fat in an egg is found mostly in the yolk.

When eaten in moderation, eggs make a substantial contribution to a healthy diet.


Rabbit Farming - Beginners Guide For This Profitable Business

Rabbit farming can actually become a very lucrative business if you know what you're getting into. Of course, as with any other kind of business, the general idea is that the more you know about it then the better you will be. The most important thing to understand here are the basics and how much work a rabbit farming business would actually entail. After all, you wouldn't want to bite off more than you can chew and end up having to give up even before you've had any success with it. So, what should a first time rabbit farmer know?

Rabbit Farming Facilities and Various Equipment Needs

Of course, the facilities and tools are your business' greatest assets. Rabbitry would require a modest amount of investment as it only needs simple facilities and a fairly small land area. An average rabbit farm would have around 15 to 100 rabbits at any given time and this would require around $5,000 to $10,000 in startup capital. This is a relatively small amount compared to other kinds of businesses, obviously.

For a meat producing rabbitry, basically one that sells premium priced rabbit meat, an investment return of around 45% during the first of year of operation is actually possible. When it comes to building your rabbit farm, you would need to create a rabbit hutch that is well ventilated, well lit and has proper cooling and heating systems. To make things easier for you when it comes to cleaning, metal cages are recommended. Once you have the cage properly set up, you would need to have a feed hopper, a good watering system and a nest box in placed in it.

The next thing you have to consider when it comes to breeding rabbits would be the rabbit breed. Rabbits are often used for their fur, wool and even their meat. Their use often depends on what breed they are and as such, even before starting your farm; you would need to consider what your rabbits would be used for? Once you've figured that out, only then would you be able to choose the kind of rabbit breed that you would require.

Breeding stock for a rabbit farm can be purchased from various local breeders. Typically, female rabbits are actually capable of producing up to 50 live rabbits annually. Rabbit farming is a relatively easy business to handle once you have gotten the groove of how things work. You will eventually learn other tips and tricks along the way so listen, observe and take note.


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